AUGUSTA, Ga. (WJBF) – The numbers are staggering. 45% of children in the CSRA are living in poverty. Many of those are in the South Augusta area. But thanks to the new Augusta Dream Center that’s all set to change.
Under-resourced and left behind. Many would use those phrases to describe parts of South Augusta.
“It’s worse now than it has been,” said Steve Norsworthy, Lead Pastor at Stevens Creek Church – SouthPoint campus.
Steve Norsworthy would know…he grew up in this part of town.
“You don’t know that you’re in an under-resourced area until you get a little older and you go away,” said Pastor Norsworthy.
Located off of Peach Orchard Road, tucked away behind Stevens Creeks’ Southpoint campus where Norsworthy’s the pastor; this facility may look like nothing more than just an ordinary building. But what’s happening inside is anything BUT ordinary.
“Year to date we’ve served over 15-hundred people food right here in this community,” said Kellie Cardona, Augusta Dream Center pastor.
Kellie Cardona helps lead the charge in serving their South Augusta neighbors as best they can. But soon that number will increase dramatically,relaunching as the Augusta Dream Center.
“By partnering with the Dream Center organization, we’ll be able to provide more hours of operation so we’ll just be able to make a larger impact here,” said Pastor Cardona.
The impact of what a Dream Center can do for a city has already been proven. When North Charleston launched theirs 9 years ago USA Today had listed them as the 7th most dangerous city in the nation. Today, they’re ranked 63rd and crime has reduced in that area by 25%. In Los Angeles where the first Dream Center was started 19 years ago crime’s gone down an incredible 70%.
“It’s definitely going to help. It’s going to put confidence back in to people because they have food, they have clothes,” said Jonathan West who lives in South Augusta.
Jonathan West lives behind where the Dream Center will be. He’s so sure of the positive impact it’s going to make that he wanted to make it easy for his neighbors to access it…building a bridge that leads right to it.
“It helps them. They don’t have to walk up the big hill and then walk back down the big hill to get to the bottom down here. So they can just come right over,” said West.
“I think it’s more evident now than before that the church has strategically been put here, God put it here,” said Pastor Norsworthy.
“Our vision for the future is to provide free medical care to those who are living below poverty. As well as to begin a mentoring program to increase the graduation rate for students at the local high schools here,” said Pastor Cardona.
A dream that West agrees some on his side of town may have never thought come become a reality…until now.
“I don’t think they’re aware but they will be aware and I can’t wait! Because I know it’s going to be fun, I know it’s going to be helpful,” said West.
The official launch day of the Dream Center is Saturday, November 5th. To learn more about the big kickoff event or to volunteer/donate: Click Here
The numbers are staggering…45% of children in the CSRA are living in poverty. That’s more than DOUBLE the state average! However, what makes Augusta awesome is that there are so many people who want to try and help make it a better place for everyone. That’s why I’m excited to tell you all about the new Dream Center that’s launching in South Augusta.
The new center is located behind Stevens Creek Church – SouthPoint Campus at 3358 Peach Orchard Road.
Dream Center Pastor, Kellie Cardona, and Barclay Bishop dancing out of excitement for the new sign!
Many of you who follow me on social media, or on Good Morning Augusta, know that I call Stevens Creek Church “home”. I think the world of it’s leaders and their vision to help change the CSRA for the better. Their motto is simple: Love God. Love People. Serve The World. The Dream Center is just more proof of them “walking the walk”, not just “talking the talk”.
The SouthPoint campus is a new addition to the “Creek” family. Prior to becoming a new campus in March 2016, it was Fleming Church of God. But regardless of its name, the work that you’re seeing now, is work that they’ve been doing in South Augusta for YEARS. In fact, turning the building on their campus into a Dream Center has been 2 years in the making.
Check out the video below of Dream Center Pastor, Kellie Cardona, as she sees the sign go up and realizes this “dream” is finally coming true.
Check out my quick behind the scenes tour below:
How has The Dream Center already made an impact?
The excitement of The Dream Center launching is being felt all over. Jonathan West has lived in South Augusta for 8 years. He was so happy to hear about this new center that, get this…he built a bridge over the creek in his backyard to connect to it! Easy access for him and for his neighbors…how awesome is that?! Check out the pictures below:
What else does the Dream Center offer?
The Dream Center isn’t just a building, they also have an “Adopt-A-Block” initiative. Volunteers get together on a given weekend and pick a street that they then “adopt”. From there they mow yards, pick up litter, do minor home repairs and just hang out with those who live on that street. It’s a great way to build relationships.
In fact, that’s how Jonathan West first became aware of all this church has to offer. He wasn’t home on the day the volunteers came to his house but they decided to mow his yard anyways. He was so overwhelmed by this random act of kindness that not only did he start volunteering at the church, he became a member and got baptized just a few weeks later!
What is the Dream Center Network?
The Dream Center Network launched in 1994 in Los Angeles. Since then, more than 100 have launched throughout the country. Learn more about the Dream Center Network by clicking here.
The Dream Center in North Charleston has completely revamped that part of the city. In the 9 years it’s been around, that area has seen a decrease in crime by 25%…Imagine what it will do for the South Augusta area! Learn more about the North Charleston Dream Center by clicking here.
How Can I Get Involved?
Check out AugustaDreamCenter.org
Take part in “Dream Week” – (Sunday, October 30th – Saturday, November 5th)
Sunday – Donate canned food items to the church to help stock the shelves of the food pantry
Monday – Encourage others to sign-up online to serve on Launch Day
Tuesday – Clean out your closet & set aside any unwanted, gently used clothing for the clothes closet
Wednesday – Drop off your clothes at either campus (Peach Orchard Road or Stevens Creek Road) between 9am and 7pm.
Thursday – Join Dream Center volunteers to organize food & clothes for Launch Day at The Dream Center (10am-3pm)
Friday – Take some time throughout your day to pray for Launch Day and for the families who will be impacted through this ministry
Saturday – Launch Day!
Launch Day Schedule:
8:00 – Doors open / Check-in / Enjoy Coffee & Donuts
8:30 – Volunteer rally begins in the main auditorium
9:00 – Volunteers & team leaders will gather supplies/ head to areas of service & complete final prep before DC opens to the public
10:00 – Dream Center opens & projects begin
12:00 – Projects will conclude
Areas of Service: (You will sign up for one of these on Launch Day)
Adopt –a- Block
If you are planning on serving with the Adopt-A-Block teams, please bring a rake from home, if you have one. This team will be meeting the neighbors, cleaning up the streets, cleaning up the yards, etc. (Also, side walk chalk, basketballs, and footballs are great ways to interact with the kids in the neighborhood).
If you are interested in serving on the painting project, please bring any paint rollers that you may have from home. The painting teams will be making improvements to the kid’s ministry, at the SouthPoint Campus.
-New socks for kids and adults
-Hats/scarves/coats for the upcoming winter weather
-Gently used clothes
***Hours of Operation***
Tuesday: 10am – 12pm
Sunday: 5pm – 6pm
1st Saturday of every month: 10am – 12pm
One of many reasons I love where I love!
There are so many awesome organizations and religious institutions in the CSRA that do such amazing things to help our community.
I wish I could highlight each and every one of them.
I do my best to cover what I can but I know there are things I will always miss. Please keep me in the loop about what’s going on around your neighborhood and what great things your organization is doing. Just email me directly: Bbishop@wjbf.com or send me a message on my Facebook Fan Page
Thanks for checking out my story and I hope you all can tune in to watch “The Dream Center” Monday night at 11pm on WJBF and Tuesday on Good Morning Augusta.
Have an awesome day!